Socialist Worker

Anti-blacklist campaigners vow to expose conspiracy as construction firms offer mild apology

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2375

Eight of the UK’s largest construction companies have said they will offer some level of compensation for victims of blacklisting. Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd – has joined with seven other contractors offering a mild apology. The other companies are Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Skanska and Vinci. All eight companies are co-defendants in a case brought by blacklisted workers.

The press release from the construction bosses came from a consultant in crisis management. A spokesperson for the Blacklist Support Group pointed out, “It is no coincidence that all of the companies signed up are named defendants in the High Court claim. This is a cynical move intended to reduce corporate reputational damage.”

The former chief executive of the mediation body Acas, John Taylor, is trying to broker a deal with the construction bosses and the unions.

Some 44 construction firms used The Consulting Association. They paid an annual £3,000-a-year subscription plus £2.20 for each blacklist check made. The companies spent hundreds of thousands of pounds blacklisting workers. The Consulting Association database of 3,200 names is held by the Information Commissioner’s Office, but so far only 400 people have been identified.

Conspiracy

The Blacklist Support Group issued the following statement, “Blacklisted workers obviously welcome the announcement of an industry funded compensation scheme for those they deliberately victimised as part of the Consulting Association blacklisting conspiracy.

“But so far there are no firm proposals, only a vague promise of compensation for any workers with a ‘legitimate claim’. We want every single person who is on the Consulting Association blacklist to be compensated and jobs guaranteed for blacklisted workers on major construction projects.

“Forgive us if we do not crack open the champagne just yet. We do not for one second believe that these companies have suddenly seen the light. Most of the senior managers implicated in the blacklisting conspiracy are still in post. The only thing they regret is being caught.” 

They point out that blacklisted workers should be included at the heart of any negotiations. 

And they added, “We have no intention whatsoever to stop or even pause our campaign for a fully independent public inquiry to expose everyone involved in this human rights conspiracy wherever they are hiding - in the companies, the police or anywhere else."


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.